Monday, January 26, 2015

Jocelyn's Story: An L&D nurse on the loss of her son Sam

Jocelyn, thank you so very much for sharing your story with us. I'm sorry it took me so long to post it. I hope your story of your son Sam can reach out and encourage someone who understands all too well. Thanks for the beautiful Bible verses you included. Sending love, Rachel

July 30th was probably the hardest day of my life. Writing down what happened that day and leading up to losing our baby, I believe, will be therapeutic for me. I feel that this topic is taboo, and although I understand why (because I really don't like to talk aloud about my loss), I also wish that it was more spoken about because up to 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage. Many women go through this alone, feeling like they have no one to talk to. I was lucky to have some very close friends and my sister-in-law for support, since they themselves had experienced pregnancy loss and were willing to help me through the process by sharing their personal stories.

On Friday, July 26, I found out, while performing sonogram on myself at work, that our baby no longer had a heartbeat. I was crushed. My midwife came and confirmed my fears. My baby had died. I called my husband and could barely get out the news to tell him why I could be home late from work. My midwife held me, cried with me and let me take the lead on the plans. I wanted to go home, talk with my husband, celebrate my oldest birthday as scheduled the next day, and come back to see her at what would have been my next regular appointment. Of course unless I started to have signs or symptoms of miscarriage. 

During my follow up appointment on Monday we saw that our baby was still without life and I was still without symptoms of impending delivery. We considered our options; surgical removal in a hospital of our baby by d&c, taking cytotec to induce delivery either at home or in hospital, or waiting up to 2-4 more weeks for the baby to be born naturally. My husband and I knew immediately that for us having surgery to remove our baby was not an option. I did not feel that waiting was the best decision for our family, especially because I would not be able to be a fully functional mom for our two young sons. So, we decided to use the induction medication at home.

My mom took the boys to stay at her house for 2 nights and my husband took off work to stay home with me. Bright and early Tuesday morning I started taking my medication and our sweet perfect baby was born at 11:30 am. I experienced little pain or bleeding those first few hours and we were able to spend time together. It was a huge blessing for me to be able to hold and see my precious baby. 

We were surprised to see that our baby was obviously another perfect little boy. I had been sick the first 11 weeks of the pregnancy, and we were convinced baby was a girl. But here he was, all 10 fingers, all 10 toes and an angelic little face. He even looked like he was calmly resting with a slight smile on his face. 

During the morning before his birth my husband and I had been considering Bible verses to use in memory of our baby. There were a few I had written down that really spoke to us. Once he was born the verse for our son was clear to us. 1 Samuel 1:27-28. Therefore it also seemed obvious that we name him Sam.

Sam - July 30, 2013
"I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me
what I asked of him. So now I give him to the Lord.
For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord."
I had a little bit of a harder time delivering the placenta. It took about 6 hours and I lost more blood than we had hoped. I had a few hours where I was very light headed and spent my time lying in bed drinking poweraid and eating whatever little bites I could hold down. When I was up I was very weak and ended up fainting a couple times. 

My husband took excellent care of me and was so strong. I think it was very good for him to feel involved and have something he could do. He was such a blessing to me and I am so thankful we could go through this trial together. Once I delivered the placenta the bleeding immediately and dramatically slowed, and I began feeling much better. After a warm lavendar salt bath and a little more resting we decided it was time to have our memorial service for Sam.

My husband had purchased a small pine box, a jasmine plant and some wood for a trellis. I wrote Sam's name, birthday and the Bible verse on the box, and we buried him in our back yard, planting the flowering vine (one of my husband's favorites) over our son. We then took some time to pray and cry together. It was such a special time for us, and I am so glad we chose to have Sam at home so that we could give him and his life the respect it deserved. For us, this was the absolute best way we could go through this awful day.
I am heartbroken. This is the most sorrow and grief I have ever felt. Yet, I know I will survive. God has been with us so much throughout this trial from the moment I found out on that Friday evening until now. He has surrounded us with loving support. 

My mom and sister cooked delicious meals without being asked, and took excellent care of my boys while I was unable. So many people prayed for us, offered help and support, and we were overwhelmed by the peace that gave us. My midwife went above and beyond to check in on me and help us do what we felt was right for our family. She cried with me and prayed with me.  I will never forget that.

Sam will always hold a special place in our hearts, and I know we will never forget him. We wish we could have gotten to know him and see him play with his brothers. However, even in his very short life, he has changed us so much.

I thank God for the blessing of his life knowing it has made me stronger, given me the opportunity to be a support to someone else in the future, and helped my husband and I see the beauty and importance in every day. 

Thank you Lord for Sam. We can't wait to meet him and You one day in Heaven.

I'd like to share a few special Bible verses that have helped me through these last few months. Some were shared by friends, others I found on my own, all given by God to provide us comfort:
Romans 8:26 - "In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans."

Hebrews 13:8 - "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever."

2 Corinthians 12: 9-10 - "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."

Psalm 34:18 - "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit."

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 - "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort,who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God."

I hope that one day with God's help I am able to help a friend who is suffering through a miscarriage. My friends who were honest and open with me about their experiences with miscarriage have been a huge help and comfort. One particular friend acted as God's hands and voice to me as she shared her experiences losing her baby at 12 weeks less than a year ago. Her support and advice about how she and her husband made the same decisions we did, and how her experience was as she lost her baby were immeasurably helpful to me. I hope I can be that for someone one day. Perhaps, through this sharing of the story of Sam, someone will find comfort knowing they are not alone. Moms need to stick together and break the silence. 

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